Ideas Day and Phase 0
It’s been a while since I did anything with a blog. I’ve recently changed hosting provider and my blog should be a little faster. Aside from that, I’m fourth (and final) year at uni now and my main focus is on my final year project and my dissertation. But mainly my final year project. Up until Tuesday, I’ve been very ‘cloudy’ in regards to what it is I was meant to be doing with my final year project. Since week one, I wanted to concentrate on something which almost everyone uses—the TV remote control.
Remote Controls are Flawed
TV remote controls are clunky, poorly arranged, and inconsistent. After reading a part of Don Norman’s Living With Complexity, I understand that a certain degree of complexity is required of such devices which control appliances, but I now realise that they shouldn’t be complicated. I mean, most of the buttons are seldom used. For example, how often do you use the green button on your remote control? Plus, why should you have to use another device?! Most people text, most people email, most people use the internet. Perhaps there was a way to manipulate the TV using one of these existing methods. I know that once upon a time there weren’t these things around, and so the remote control was necessary, but now what’s the excuse? And what’s the excuse for each device having its own remote control? Surely one remote control should be able to control them all one way or another. I set out with the idea of using the Microsoft Kinect to perhaps control the TV through using either speech, or gestures, or a combination of the two. However, after speaking to my tutors, I was under the impression that people didn’t want this or that perhaps people didn’t want to speak to their TVs. I went away and did some research into how people use their TVs and about their remote control usage. It became clear that most people had a lot of remote controls! It became clear that they primarily use one remote control, but just use the others for things like turning devices on and off, and turning the volume up or down.
The Three Ideas
I then pre-developed three ideas—two whereby the TV could be controlled by text message and the third idea (which I struggled to spawn) which was the original idea of using gestures to control the TV.
The third idea was the favourite! However, this idea, as an interaction design project, wasn’t the strongest. I mean, it’s all good and well using gestures to control the TV, but what’s the point?! It’s been done.
The One Idea
The British, as a collective culture, can stereotypically be defined as being quite ignorant of other cultures and languages. Why is this? Perhaps it’s because we’re rude. Or perhaps it’s because we just haven’t ever been properly educated. I mean, how often is a foreign film shown on BBC1 or BBC2? Very rarely. BBC4 is generally meant for that, but it’s not mainstream enough to make a difference.
And this is where my idea steps in to help. It works on the idea that the British have never been taught properly about other people’s cultures or languages.
I want to teach people about other cultures through the medium of gestures. It is commonly accepted that there is no universal body language gesture (see here, here and here), and so it would be apt to educate Britons about these different cultures, their gestures, and the meanings of these gestures. Let Phase 1 begin!